When will the moon shine like this again? I lift my wine cup, questioning the heavens.
Who knows – in the palace of the sky, time is kept, and told differently…
I want to glide back home on the wind, but the high jade turrets, the cold’s fierce clutch prevent me…
The dance illuminates the shadows – how can this be earth?
Light arcs over the mansion, drawing out long shadows, bending the silk doors.
I toss in bed fretfully – she glares through the blinds, refusing me sleep…
What have I done to offend her? Why is she always fullest at the moment of parting?
There is sorrow, there is joy, people come and people go; the moon is sometimes bright, sometimes a shadow, sometimes a sliver, sometimes too full –
This, too, is ancient, unfathomable. But wherever I am, wherever you are, there the moon shines.
– Su Dongpo, Song dynasty, trans. Judith Huang